Journal of a Mouse

Sunday, October 30, 2005

More Tales from the Kitchen

The view of our little veranda (like I love to call this place ;-) ). This is where we usually have our breakfast and lunch. I must admit that we often eat dinner in the livingroom in front of the tv... bad habit. Well, our little veranda reminds me of the pictures from Carl Larsson (well, except for the ugly, badly proportioned windows - but I´m doing my best to ignore them and imagine high, white-framed french windows, hee, hee, or some looking like the ones on the picture Flowers on the Windowsill). He is one of my favorite painters. And ever since I listened to the books of Astrid Lindgren as a child and seen pictures by Carl Larsson, I dreamed of Sweden. I have never been there for real, but about a few thousand times in my dreams! And now we are planning to go next summer! A dream come true! So now you now, why I love this part of our apartment so much! It´s this and the fact that the sun shines in here all afternoon. I´m dreaming of a kitchen sofa or a bench on the right hand side of the veranda, so I can lie down there and relax in the sun.
The veranda has it´s own little history. We live on the fifth floor of an old building near the city center. Originally this building only had four stories. But after World War II there have not been enough undamaged apartments in the cities, so often there was another story added to the buildings. As families could not afford large apartments, there had to be made more room. In our case, an engineer and his family moved into our appartment. And he built in these "shelves" in the kitchen to separate the room in front of the windows. Once there has even been a door and we think there were windows where now are the shelves (because that´s how it still looks like in the appartment on the other side of our building). Now one of his little girl had her own room there!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Kitchen Curtains

I finally finished the curtains I started to sew in spring. The one you see on this photo actually hung there since april, when I had hung it up to see where I had to place the hem...I took it down yesterday and finished sewing both curtains. No more blank walls and naked windows in the kitchen!

Thursday, October 27, 2005


I just caught these two little critters who had socknapped my newly finished socks! Can you believe it? I think they were in desperate need of some warm hats though, as it´s getting colder outside. Always up to some mischief...

View from our bedroom window

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I finished the Flowers...

...and I´m finished with painting glass vases. I didn´t even try adding all the reflections. Because of trying to follow the poor instructions of my teacher I had not left any white flecks for the reflections in the glass. And so I simplified the whole thing. Now I´m not really satisfied with it, but at least I learned a lot while trying to get it right. Next time I hope to do better. But for now I don´t have any intentions of painting glass least not any time soon. Too much stress for me, ha, ha, ha!
(By the way: I did not lighten up the photo this time - at least not very much- so now you can see a more realistic coloring)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

More Sunflowers

I worked on my bouquet of flowers again today. I´m not sure about adding details to the petals of the sunflowers. I don´t want to overdo anything. But then again, I think they still look too flat and plain against the violet flowers. And please wish me luck on painting that vase!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Reinventing Myself

I would love to drift away from some of my problems like this little guy!

Reinventing myself is NOT EASY AT ALL! In fact, it goes along with a lot of problems that rise to the surface of my soul again and with a lot of self-doubting and feeling overwhelmed most of the time. I have bad dreams and feel drained of energy. That´s why I didn´t post so often these days, apart from the fact that I was on the road so much. I woke up early today, feeling guilty about the fact that I still don´t know what to do to earn my money and that I didn´t even start looking for a job yet. I started writing morning pages and writing down all my thoughts that make me feel so guilty. The more I wrote, the more I noticed how I was beating myself up all the time. No wonder I felt so bad! So now I´m working on putting a stop to that behavior.
After doing all that writing I put on the computer and got inspired by Hanna´s Minibook . I used the instructions from Keri Smith´s site and made one of my own. It´s funny how the little pile of cut-outs now so well reflect how I felt this morning...

Make a wish!

Happy family life.


Homemade Revolution.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Studio Friday: Lost and Found

I recently found this birthday calendar in the depths of my drawers. I had made this as a first-grader and my mom hung it up in the guest bathroom for some years. I had long forgotten about this one. As you can see on this example drawing, I have always been one to go into detail, ha, ha!
I love the over-dimensional ladybugs! And what I love even more is this:
Next to my name, my three years younger brother wrote "Blöt Dee". It must have been when he was learning how to read and write, because it is spelled all wrong. It must say "Blöde", meaning "Stupid". He must have been pretty angry at me, ha, ha! So cute!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Bea´s Playground

Me, still at the foot of the "Ocean of Rocks", aka Bea´s Playground ;-)

These past days I have been "on the road" a lot. On thursday afternoon I took the train to Böblingen (near Stuttgart), where my dearest had written his tax advisor´s exams. He was still very tired and a little beside himself when I arrived.
But on friday he was feeling a better already and ready to drive home again. But before we did that, we went to a small town nearby, where my grandparents on my father´s side had lived until I was about twelve years old. It was strange to see that place again... The house is placed on the edge of town, and when I was little, a shepherd and his flock of sheep often stopped by in the evenings on the meadow next to that house. Now, the meadow is gone and new houses have been built there. Even my favorite climbing tree seems to be gone...Well, we walked around a little bit and I found the indoor pool again, where I used to go a lot and even earned some swimmer´s badges as a kid. I always loved to go swimming! After talking to some of the neighbors, we got in the car again and drove home. We chose to take a beautiful route through the black forest, as we had the most beautiful sunny fall weather you can imagine. I think, it took us at least four times as long as by driving back on the autobahn. But we enjoyed it so much. And this way we did not get stuck in the usual friday afternoon traffic jams and were back on time to go to an Ornette Coleman jazz concert in Ludwigshafen. We had a really great time!
On saturday we were both dead tired, but went to the city center anyway and did some shopping and hung around in the coffebar of one of our favorite bookstores. An ideal people watching place! ;-)
Yesterday, as the weather was still sooo beautiful, we decided to finally go to the place in the Odenwald (the region north of Heidelberg), called the "Ocean of Rocks". I have never seen anything like that. It is a very, very long slope of rocks, right in the middle of the forest. In past times there have been eightteen of those going down the hill! But many of those stones have been used for building churches and whatever in cities like Mainz or Trier. You can still see some stones that have been worked on by the old romans... Well, now it´s a huge playground, especially for young families. They all climb up the long, long slope with their excited children. And while most of the adults are panting and sweating, the little ones jump from rock to rock like mountain goats, some even seemed like little tarzans to us :-) And it was LOUD! Sounded like being at an overfilled outdoor pool in the summer time! It was sooo much fun! And the kid´s are sooo funny sometimes:
Little Girl:"Dad, I´m very fast!"
Dad:"How come you think so?"
Girl:"Because you can hardly keep up with me!"

This was not even half way up at a narrow part of the rocky slope. Higher on, the rocks got a lot larger than here.

Reichenbach in the Odenwald (Wald means forest)

The sun was sooo bright, I had to squint my eyes

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Slowly Progressing...

I didn´t paint yesterday and it took me until late in the afternoon today, before I could get myself to paint on this again. All because my confidence was a little bruised after all the things my teacher had said. It was not just what I already wrote here. It was also how she repeated a few times how it takes at least five years until one is really good in watercolor painting... That was after her tantrum about my attempts of painting the vase and after she had criticised my first attempt at painting the violet flowers (that was on a different sheet of paper) and I´m sure it was pointed in my direction. So I had a little battle with my inner critic these last two days. Well, I won. And I think the violet flower heads are really okay. I didn´t win the battle in case of the vase yet. But I have plenty of time for that and I may just try painting it on a different sheet of paper first.

Monday, October 10, 2005


The last two days I have been painting this bouquet of flowers in a weekend drawing class. We were seven people. Some were from the drawing class I had attended the past two semesters, some from a watercolor class my teacher is teaching. So we could either draw in pastels or use watercolors. Because I love doing the details I didn´t even finish my painting, while everybody else was doing two different pictures... *LOL*
In the beginning I intended to draw some pumpkins and a vase, but my heart craved to draw the bouquet of flowers... So while fear told me I could never ever do this, because I didn´t even know where to start, I told myself to try it anyway. I feared more that I would probably never try this at home, where noone could help me if I needed it. Well, my teacher didn´t help me either. Instead she rather intimidated me. She said I was painting well, BUT that this was not the right medium for me. It would be better for me to try painting in goache... She said that painting in watercolors was all about colors flowing into each other. That she thinks about something different when she thinks of a watercolor painting. Like what she is doing (that´s what she meant, although she didn´t say it). All wet-in-wet technique. But I said, I thought there were no rules. She thinks there are. I told her that many botanical illustrations are done in watercolor, but she said that they are done mostly in goache...
When I started the vase in class, because I thought it would be better to try it there, so she could help me, she just started criticising me for doing something that was still too diffucult for me. But I like doing difficult things. It´s more interesting to me. So what, if I ruin the vase but the rest still looks good? So what if I don´t get everything perfect? I have never done anything this difficult before! I´m amazed it already looks THIS good, for god´s sake! When I asked for help she couldn´t even explain how to do it. She just said that this is not the right way. So I asked, if she could show me on a different sheet of paper. But she said it wouldn´t help, because she would do it so differently. Great! So how do I go about? I don´t mind to being criticised, if it´s helpful. That´s why I went to this stupid class! But I had this feeling that she just could not bear I was already as good as I am. Maybe because she had tried to explain some basics to me, only to realize that I could already do that. I think that it bugged her. Although I listened to her and acknowledged what she did. I didn´t offend her in any way. But I think it offended her that I could already do it. So what was I to do? Pretend that I could not?
I decided to work out how to draw the vase at home. She gave me the bouquet and the vase to go on painting at home, but I was feeling intimidated today, so I didn´t work on it anymore. Stupid, ha? But I have looked up techniques on flower illustration and found out, I´m using the watercolor with too much water on my brush (the picture is a little paler in reality). So I can use watercolor! I do not need to use goache to get the colors more intense! Although I will try it anyway. Because maybe it is something I will like. But still I hate the way she said all that. It was the way she was saying all of that. Afterwards, even the other people in my class did not say anything about my painting anymore, whereas in the morning they had all ooohd and aaahd about it. I think they where afraid of falling from our teachers grace. So be it.
I have looked up how other illustrators do their botanical illustrations. And some do use goache. But many of those use it only to work in the highlights. Ha!
I´m glad I don´t go to her regular classes anymore... I need somebody else.
When I think about it, I think it all has to do with me telling her the weekend before that I want to go into the illustration business one day. I had shown her my Bird Picture before and she thought it was cute. But when I told her about my plans she said that they would not work out. That I needed to go to art school first. That it would be too tough to get published without a degree. When I told her that I know about a few artists who do get published even though they have never seen the insides of an art school, she just said: "Who knows, if that is true." I said that I knew it would not be easy, that I knew I would need more experience before I could do it, that I didn´t depend on it for a living, beause I could always work with my law degree... She still shook her head at me. So now you know it wasn´t just the examination blues I had last week... Although somewhere deep within I still believe I will make it! It´s just a matter of time and more practice. I won´t let anyone take my dream away ever again! NO!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Studio Friday: Golden Yellow - SECRET PROJECT REVEALED!!!

This is definitely the best topic to reveal the secret project I have been working on since the beginning of august. TA DAH!
As I have already mentioned, it was originally an idea I had for the birdie swap. It started out as an idea of three birds balancing on each others heads - a static picture I wanted to paint in my naive style in acrylics. But then I was tired of this style and it itched me to do it in watercolors and with a more dramatic perspective. I didn´t know if I could do it, because I have never ever tried a wild perspective like this one. But the picture was there in my mind and I HAD to put it on paper. So I told myself to just try it. I wouldn´t have to show it to anyone, if it didn´t work out... So I sketched and sketched.

This was the first sketch I made to see what kind of characters I could come up with. Pretty bad, hah?

My first try at changing the perspective. But something was still wrong. So I tried, and tried...

and tried some more.

And suddenly I saw THIS clearly in my mind and just drew it... Was that really ME??? ;-)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Beating the Blues

I suffer from post examination blues...That´s why I didn´t post so often. I´m not in the mood to do anything. But I did something anyway. I picked up my knitting again and I finished my secret project last week! I will show you soon! It was actually meant to be for the Birdie Swap, but it turned out to be the best thing I ever painted, or at least it seems so to me. So I decided to keep it. But unless I have an alternative for the swap, I cannot show you...I would so love to though! I have already started to work on that alternative, but it takes me longer to finish it than I thought, because there is always something going wrong - grmmph!!! I will explain later.
So why do I feel blue? At first, I think, it had to do with being exhausted and not getting enough sleep. But then I started to feel the pressure to look for a job and not feel ready for it at all. I still do not really know what to look for. All I know is, that I don´t want to become a lawyer. And I need a job that will not eat me up, because I need to have enough time and energy for all my creative endeavors. What else is making me feel blue? My tummy is causing me trouble again. I´m not sure it´s IBS this time. It feels more like I´ve caught a bug or something. But I´m really not sure and it adds to the feeling of not being stress-resistant enough to cope with all this career stuff I have to deal with now. I think I will take it easy for another week and try some more arts and crafts therapy ;-)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Studio Friday: The Most Unusual Thing

This pear-shaped flute is probably the most unusual object in my studio. I bought it in a small shop in the little town of Szentendre (near Budapest) on our trip to Hungary, last year. I can play a little tune for you...did you hear it?